Monday 29 December 2014

The Blue Mountains

I spent the weekend at Blackheath in the Blue Mountains, and returned to Evan's Lookout to sketch another view of the cliffs looking to the left. The shadows were very strong in the morning, and the sun very hot. Last time I sketched here is was very cold and I did the view to looking more to the right.

(I have another post about sketching in the Blue Mountains here)
This is actually across a double page in my sketchbook but I need to figure out how to 'stitch' photos. It is a smaller study of the view from Pulpit Rock. This sketch was done on a very misty and cold morning. Such temperature changes in one weekend!

Sketching in The Rocks, Sydney. Updated and Ongoing!

Police Station building, the Rocks.
The Sydney Sketch Club has set a challenge to draw all the buildings along George Street in The Rocks. It was started in January 2014 and I began with the old police building.

I drew this in Water-soluble graphite which is a favourite, especially for buildings where there is a lot of shadow. This is painted in an A5 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook. It is now a rather nice cafe with some of the old cells available as little private rooms.

The Russell Hotel, The Rocks, Sydney

Sketching in the Rocks, Sydney
The Russell Hotel is still a hotel :-) This was lightly drawn in pencil then in black ink with watercolour over the top. It's larger - in an A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook.

I joined the Sydney Urban Sketchers for a coffee catchup in Surrey Hills and then a sketch in the Rocks, Sydney, on Christmas Eve. This time I had a time limit so worked much more quickly. The building was the 'English Scottish Australian Chartered Bank' building. It is sketched with minimal preparation with pen then watercolour then a little more pen work.

This is actually the first of the buildings in the stretch. I used grey mixed ink for this one and am really enjoying the softer look of grey rather than black.

It is in an A4 Moleskine watercolour sketchbook and was painted in January 2015

There are many more to go and I'll add them as I go :-)

Friday 19 December 2014

USK Sydney meetup

We had a few international visitors in town so Aussie USK leader Liz Steel organised a Sydney sketch meet. It was lovely to chat about the materials, pens and sketchbooks available in different countries while drinking coffee and sketching in the Rocks.

I wasn't taking too much care with these sketches but they are a record of a fun day out.

The first was done using an interesting Sailor pen with a 40 degree nib. Great for switching between thick and thin lines. We were sketching in the MCA cafe which has a great view of the bridge. It normally has a wonderful view of the Opera house too but there was a cruise ship in the harbour and those things are enormous!

We moved from the MCA cafe to the Courtyard Cafe for lunch. I did a sketch of the lovely sandstone walls surrounding the cafe.

Then it was time to go out and about and sketch a little corner of The Rocks. This was in a laneway looking towards Nurses Walk.
 A USK trip to Sydney with Liz wouldn't be the same without a visit to the Tea Cosy for some lovely scones. I am not a tea person but the many knitted tea cosies are rather fun :-)

Sunday 14 December 2014

De Atramantis Inks - mixing document greys. Updated January 2015

I enjoy sketching in black, brown and grey inks. I may add a yellow ochre or raw sienna, but these generally satisfy most drawing subjects on location. I am using the De Atramentis Document Black and Brown and apparently there will be a grey, but for now I have made my own using the Blue and Brown inks. 
I wanted to see whether the Document Magenta and Document Green inks neutralise each other to produce a black, and therefore another grey option. They do - they make a rich black. I then thinned it down with the Document thinning solution and made a lovely range of lighter greys. The last has about 8 drops of thinning solution with less than a drop of ink!
The bottom mix shows the same process with the Document Brown and Document Blue inks. They made a very dark grey - almost as intense as the magenta and green - that thins down beautifully to a range of greys. 

This is a page from a sketchbook exploring Document Red and looking for Burnt Sienna, Indian red and grey hues. 

In the first line you can see Indian Red and some great greens.

In the second row there is another Indian Red option with Document Blue

You can see another grey option on the third row with Document Red and Cyan. It is then thinned out with ink thinner.

The lower rows are also explored elsewhere. So many colour options!

I'll explore raw sienna and yellow ochre mixes next. I'll also thin the black and see what it looks like as a grey. The options with these inks are endless!

Wednesday 10 December 2014

De Atramentis Document Ink mixes - Blue, Yellow and Magenta. Updated January 2015

The possible colour hues you can mix with a three colour mix of yellow, magenta and blue are endless. Here are just a few of the possibilities using the De Atramentis Document Inks - Document Yellow, Document Blue and Document Magenta. The ratios shown are approximate - yellow:magenta:blue based on the number of drops of each colour used. A drop varies in size but it gives an idea. These mixes follow on from the two colour mixes shown in a previous post. These are painted into a Stillman & Birn Alpha A4 sketchbook with a brush at full strength.
Here are the same inks with approximate ratios of the three colours Yellow:Magenta:Blue

The second set of mixes is more random so no ratios are given. Only the Document BlueDocument Yellow and Document Magenta inks have been used.

Thursday 20 November 2014

De Atramentis Document Inks mixed with Black - Updated January 2015

I don't usually use black when mixing with watercolour, but with a CYMK mixing set it certainly increases the options and is the only way to create some hues and tones.

There are 9 inks available in the De Atramentis Document range so far. Yellow, Red, Magenta (also called Fuchsia), Blue, Dark Blue, Cyan (also called Turquoise), Green, Brown and Black. Here you can see each of the colours mixed with black. When the White is available I will do the same with that. Document Fog Grey (which is really a very dark blue) will also be added here soon.

It takes VERY little Black to make a change to the original colour so I haven't included ratios for these mixes.

Here is Document Yellow mixed with Document Black. It's a lovely bright mid yellow and a strong tinting ink. The Black is really very pure - notice the yellow is darkening rather than turning green as it might with many blacks that are on the blue-side.

Document Red mixed with Document Black gives a lovely range of red-earth hues like an Indian Red or Venetian Red. (Doucment red looks the same as a mix of 1:1 Document Yellow + Document Magenta)

Document Magenta (also called Fuchsia) mixed with Document Black. There are a few more possible tones between the pure colour and the first mix but I added too much black too quickly. It takes SO little to make a change!

Next is the warm Document Blue mixed with Document Black. A nice range of deep blue and indigo hues are possible.

Document Dark Blue looks like a mix of Document Blue and Document Black so is already a lovely dark blue.

Next is Document Cyan (also called Turquoise) mixed with Document Black, making cooler deep blues.

Document Green, which looks like a mix of Yellow and Cyan at a ratio of 1:4, mixed with Document Black makes wonderful deep bottle greens.

And finally Document Brown mixed with Document Black to make a great range of dark brown and sepia hues.

To see these colours mixed together see the previous post here.

Tuesday 18 November 2014

Mixing De Atramentis Document Inks Updated January 2015

I am really enjoying working with the De Atramentis Document Black and Document Brown fountain pen inks. I have been gradually buying the other document colours as I find them in various shops in Sydney Australia, including Larrypost, Art Scene, Tilly's and Pen Ultimate, or from Gouletpens in the US. A couple of sample shipments from De Atramentis has enabled me to add Yellow and the thinning solutions, along with Red, Green and Dark Blue. See the full range - Yellow, Red, Magenta, Blue, Dark Blue, Cyan, Green, Brown and Black here.

A Document Grey is now available in some areas, though it appears much more a dark blue than a grey.  Burnt Sienna and White are in the pipeline.

To have a good range of lightfast, waterproof, fountain pen-friendly inks is one thing, but to then be able to inter-mix them is really exciting for an artist. I'm looking forward to experimenting with them as liquid watercolours. They rate the maximum 8 on the blue wool scale so should be fine in framed finished works. (Of course I'll do my own testing :-)

So I have been mixing them, and explored making a range of mixed colours measuring drop by drop. It's not perfect - how big is a drop? - but it gives a good idea of just some of the colours possible. All these colours are full strength. A thinning solution is also available. These are painted out in a Stillman & Birn Alpha A4 sketchbook.

Here is Document Blue mixed with Document Magenta in the ratio written below. Document blue is a lovely warm blue so the purples are clean and beautiful. August 2015 - a Document Violet has been added to the Document Range.

Here is Document Turquoise (Cyan is a more helpful name here) with Document Magenta. Notice how the colours overlap the mixes above so you can make your own document Blue hue, though the Document Blue ink is very nice and acts as a wonderful warm mixing blue.

My next mixes were with Document Turquoise (which will be called Cyan) and Document Brown. The cool blue creates lovely turquoise and green hues and a great olive green and cooler brown.

The next range with a warmer Document Blue creates a lovely deep blue, grey and warm Sepia and burnt umber browns when mixed with Document Brown. I am loving working with this mixed grey and have also used a slightly thinned version in a fountain pen :-)

And here is a range of deep red and maroon colours made with Document Magenta and Document Brown.

Here is Document Yellow mixed with Document Blue. I always love the more natural greens you can make with a warm blue.
Document Yellow mixed with Document Cyan will create much brigher greens.

Document Yellow mixed with Document Green makes ever warmer greens.

Document Yellow with Document Brown makes wonderful yellow ochre, raw sienna hues. You can see this combination in action in Liz Steel's sketches here.
And Document Yellow mixed with Document Magenta makes gorgeous oranges, reds and crimsons :-)

Here is Document Yellow mixed with Document Red.
All the colours can also be mixed with the Document Black for deeper shades. I've started playing with those mixes and you can see them here.

I then did some exploration of three colour mixes. I will add more on these as a separate post. These are quite deep and dark but rather interesting. The first were made with various ratios of Document Blue, Magenta and Brown.

The next were made with the same ratios using the cooler cyan, (Document Turquoise), Magenta and Brown.

For more on drawing with inks see Working in Ink here, or Sketchbook Pages Exploring Fountain Pen Inks here. For more on coloured inks see here. For Brown Inks comparisons see here.

Friday 7 November 2014

Coloured drawing inks

I have been wanting to do a careful comparison of my many fountain pen and drawing inks and finally washed over the samples to see which are waterproof.

I drew the squares in pencil, draw a line on the left on dry paper and touched the line with water to make it bleed. I then did a second line on the then-wet paper to see how it dispersed in wet. Then I did the cross-hatching on the right of the square on dry paper, then painted the rectangles and allowed all of them to dry completely. I then painted a wash of water through the square and some immediately re-wet, others were completely waterproof.

For writing you may not need to use waterproof ink, and even for drawing you may prefer to have water soluble ink if you wish to use water to create some tones. I just like to know what my materials will do.

 The inks were tested using a dip pen with a 'post office' nib as that is how I prefer to use them, except the De Atramentis inks and Lamy Blue which were in fountain pens.

 The colour of the Copper Brown and Calli Brown is certainly rather crimson, but not as much as the image on my computer :-(  Ochre Yellow is rather orange but most of the others a reasonably accurate in colour. Many companies, such as, offer samples for a reasonable price and also have painted/drawn samples to view on their websites.

The A.S (Art Spectrum) pigmented inks are terrific for drawing with a dip pen. They are waterproof and lightfast and highly pigmented for good strong colour. I shake these well before use.

The Calli inks were also completely waterproof.

I am using Da Atramentis Document inks in Black and Brown in my fountain pens and am very happy with them. I'll also use their regular non waterproof inks for writing and some drawing, and Lamy inks in my Lamy pens. The rest I prefer to use with a dip pen in the studio.